Dick Barton at Bay
Henry Halstead for Marylebone-Hammer
directed by Godfrey Grayson
starring Don Stannard, George Ford, Meinhart Maur, Tamara Desni, Joyce Linden, Percy Walsh, Campbell Singer, Richard George, John Arnatt, Patrick Macnee
screenplay by Ambrose Grayson, based on the BBC-radio-serial, music by Frank Spencer, Rupert Grayson
After special agent Phillips (Patrick Macnee), who is supposed to guard
professor Mitchell (Percy Walsh), inventor of a death ray that can shoot
airplanes out of the sky, Dick Barton (Don Stannard) & sidekick
Snowey White (George Ford) enter the scene, but unfortunately too late
to save teh professor plus daughter Mary (Joyce Walsh) from being
kidnapped. However, Barton & Snowey soon find a trail that leads
them to evil foreign agent Volkoff (Meinhart Maur) & his equally
evil female companion (Tamara Desni), who for some reason are in
desperate need of a death ray. But where might they be staying, &
where might they be keeping the death ray, what are the planning to do
with it, & what did Phillips' last words before dying ("2 long,
one short") mean. All that soon becomes apparent: "2 long, one
short" means the signal a nearby lighthouse is sending out, which
is the villains' lair, & where they keep both the death ray, as well
as the professor & daughter prisoner, and the villains planned to
shoot the Anglo-American defense misssion - leaving by airplane - out of
the skies. Still, Barton & Snowey are eventually imprisoned by
Volkoff & gang, but they have long since organized for the coast
guard to storm the lighthouse. All is well, as the planes of the defense
mission fly over their heads undisturbed !
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The second of Hammer's films about BBC-radio's Dick Barton was
actually the third to be shown in cinemas (Dick Barton Strikes back
was filmed half a year afterwards but beat Dick Barton at Bay to
the theatres by over a year for some reason). In style, it differs
largely from Dick Barton,
Special Agent (as did Dick Barton Strikes back),
exchanging its rural, sunny settings for more urban surroundings mainly
filmed by night, with much of the tiring comedy gone, rather providing
the audience with a crisp, reasonably paced espionage thriller. It might
not be the best movie ever made, but it's an enjoyable programmer
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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